File photo courtesy of © Can Stock Photo / monticello.File photo courtesy of © Can Stock Photo / monticello.

Bird flu found in CK poultry flock

Avian influenza has been detected in a flock of poultry on a non-commercial property in Chatham-Kent.

The bird flu was detected on a property in the Charing Cross area on March 10, 2023.

On March 13, 2023, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) declared the area bound by Pinehurst Line, Mull Road, Lake Erie, Dillon Road, and Maynard Line a Primary Control Zone because the animals and things in the zone are "capable of being infected or contaminated by the highly pathogenic avian influenza." The CFIA has declared primary control zones to prevent the spread of highly pathogenic avian influenza (H5N1) in Canada. Birds, their products and by-products, as well as things exposed to birds cannot be moved into, out of, within, or through the primary control zone except by permission through the use of permits, according to the declaration.

Detection of highly pathogenic avian influenza in Chatham-Kent. (Photo via CFIA)

The food inspection agency noted that highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) is not a food safety concern, but is urging extreme caution because HPAI viruses can cause severe illness and death in birds.

"There is no evidence to suggest that eating cooked poultry or eggs could transmit HPAI [bird flu] to humans," said the CFIA. "This serves as a strong reminder that avian influenza is spreading across the globe, and that anyone with farm animals must practice good biosecurity habits."

Avian influenza viruses, such as the highly pathogenic H5N1 virus present in Asia, can, on rare occasions, cause disease in humans. Transmission to humans has occurred when people have had close contact with infected birds or heavily contaminated environments.

The last time avian flu was detected in Chatham-Kent was in April of 2022 when a commercial poultry operation was infected.

The Municipality of Chatham-Kent is currently studying the growing trend of raising backyard chickens to potentially allow them in urban and rural areas.

The Poultry Industry Council is holding a webinar on raising backyard chickens on Saturday. Click here to register.

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